Business Student Helps Others Through TSMP
By Eric Breier
Abigail White was volunteering at Mission Hills High School’s College Expo and Future Fair last year when she realized the positive impact she could have on younger students.
White, then a Cal State San Marcos freshman, was surprised by the number of high school students and their parents peppering her with questions about college.
“I realized I could be a representative of my community and Cal State San Marcos,” said White, who is majoring in business administration with an emphasis in global supply chain management.
White enrolled at CSUSM as part of the Partners Advancing College Education Promise, an agreement between San Marcos Unified School District and CSUSM that provides guaranteed admission for all students who meet entrance requirements. As part of the PACE Promise scholarship she received, White agreed to volunteer at the College Expo and Future Fair.
It proved to be a prescient decision.
White’s efforts attracted the attention of The San Marcos Promise (TSMP). The group approached White last summer about joining its Promise Ambassador Program, which recruits SMUSD alumni who have graduated within the past three years and are enrolled in any post-high school education program. Ambassadors have an opportunity to gain workplace skills and expand their professional network while helping K-12 students prepare for life after high school.
“We met Abby when she was a freshman at CSUSM and were impressed with her communication skills, maturity and overall verve for life,” said Lisa Stout, executive director of TSMP. “She definitely stood out and was top of mind when we were recruiting for ambassadors for this year.”
While the PACE Promise remains the name of the scholarship program, TSMP was established in 2014 to help K-12 students learn about career opportunities and put them on the path to achieving their goals after high school.
“The San Marcos Promise offers a lot of education beyond the normal education you learn in school,” White said. “They talk about having an elevator pitch ready, how to write your résumé, all the way down to a good handshake, and more. They’re a really good resource for information in the real world and when it comes to jobs and a successful future.”
White’s ambassador responsibilities include working on TSMP’s Learning Enrichment to Achieve Promise program, or LEAP, which helps students explore interests while developing skills related to problem-solving, communication and digital fluency through a variety of courses.
Despite having to host courses virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic, White said children and parents have reported positive experiences.
“First and foremost, Abby is passionate about our mission, and it speaks volumes when a student can articulate the importance of what our foundation does to help prepare students for their futures,” Stout said. “Abby is energetic, organized, detailed and full of great ideas. We couldn't be happier to have Abby on our team.”
White first began thinking about her own path for life after K-12 during a fifth-grade field trip to CSUSM. Though two of her brothers graduated from CSUSM (in 2002 and 2010), she had never visited campus before that trip. The encouragement she received to pursue higher education was something she remembered years later as a student at San Marcos High as she was exploring college opportunities.
“Toward the end of high school, I thought that was my best option,” said White, who has a third brother who will graduate from CSUSM next spring. “It was close to me, and financially it made sense.”
Halfway through her second year at CSUSM, White is still exploring career options once she graduates. But her experience as a TSMP ambassador has been so rewarding that she is looking forward to participating again next year.
“We are a proactive organization, and we go beyond education into real-world aspects,” White said. “We really focus on helping kids have successful futures beyond high school.”
Eric Breier, Public Affairs Specialist
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